MIT Active Joint Brace Research


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    Background    
     

Of the over 21 million Americans who have a physical disability approximately 10 million have difficulty lifting a light object and the same number need assistance with activities of daily living. Of the approximately $200 billion spent on physical therapy for disabled Americans, 20% is paid out of pocket. There is a need for affordable devices that both augment strength/independence and accelerate rehabilitation.

Rehabilitation following severe neurological trauma (such as spinal cord injury or stroke) is often possible. Physical and occupational therapy provide a beneficial treatment, but are labor intensive, often requiring one or two therapists to work with each patient.

Robot aided therapies are emerging on the horizon as the new way of cutting labor costs for rehabilitation. It has been shown that patients treated daily with additional robot-aided therapy during acute rehabilitation had improved outcome in motor activity at hospital discharge, when compared to a control group that received only standard acute rehabilitation treatment.

There is evidence that improved recovery can result from more therapy, earlier therapy, and therapies that incorporate highly repetitive movement training. The drawback to all of the current robotic devices available for rehab is their size, and inpatient nature of care. In both cases, robotic and manual, the patient's quality of life remains the same as they are subject to a period of "rehabilitation" before being able to accomplish activities of daily living.

With our technology, we hope to introduce a portable, low-cost device to allow for self-therapy and to perform activities of daily living at home, while making the patient less dependent on visits to a therapist. The problems we are solving are reduction of cost and improvement of the quality of life.

 
     
   © 2004 MIT Active Joint Brace